Michael Craig-Martin – Alphabet

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Michael Craig-Martin – Alphabet

4 April, 2014 - 15 June, 2014


Michael Craig-Martin is one of the most influential British artists of recent decades. He was a key figure for the ‘Young British Artists’ (YBAs) generation – many of whom he taught as Professor at Goldsmiths College of Art, including artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

Michael Craig-Martin

Michael Craig-Martin

In Alphabet he has produced 26 screen-prints in which the letters of the alphabet are overlaid with everyday objects such as a book, a glass of water or an umbrella.

Throughout his career, Craig-Martin has explored the iconography of everyday and designer objects. In Alphabet, visually arresting images are set against a background of vivid monochrome colours and overlaid with a single letter. In this series, created in his signature style, Craig-Martin plays with the idea of the ABC children’s primer. Instead of a direct ‘A is for Apple’, ‘B is for Ball’, the relationship between the letter and image is more ambiguous and requires some guess-work; ‘C’ shows a knife, perhaps representing the word ‘cut’.

Over the past decade, Craig-Martin’s practice has embraced digital technology as a tool for working on ideas and compositions. He has used a computer to create an image-bank of everyday objects which have been employed in large-scale wall drawings and acrylic paintings on canvas. He drew upon this resource to create Alphabet, which was then produced using traditional screen-printing methods.

Michael Craig-Martin was born in Dublin in 1941 and educated in the United States, where he studied at Yale University under Josef Albers. He returned to Europe in the mid-1960s and was a key figure in the first generation of British conceptual artists. As a tutor at Goldsmith’s College from 1974-1988 and Professor from 1994-2000, he had a significant influence on two generations of young British artists.

This series of 26 screen prints was published by the Alan Cristea Gallery in 2007.


4 April, 2014
15 June, 2014


Museum of St Albans
Hatfield Road
St Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 3RR United Kingdom
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